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Tuesday, March 16, 2010
March 16, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:27 AM :: 6038 Views

LINK>>>Thielen: Reelection campaign to focus on clean energy, education, and taxes

LINK>>>Taxed Enough Already: No new taxes rally in Kona April 15

LINK>>>VIDEO: Hawaii Senate Committee considering retroactive 55% Death Tax

Congress candidates spar over economic stimulus: Case, Djou, Hanabusa offer differing opinions on stimulus, health care

Djou, a Republican, said at a Hawaii Public Radio debate that the reason for the growing national deficit is "because the strategy of the United States Congress right now is spend, spend, spend and, when in doubt, spend some more.

"If there's a problem in our nation, throw money at it. I don't believe throwing money at a problem has ever fixed anything in our nation."

Djou said he would fight to reduce taxes so people can keep more of the money they earn. He said he would try to break "a culture built around spending" in Congress.

Djou challenged the candidates to give a straight answer on how they would vote on the current reform measure before Congress, saying he would vote against the proposal.

SB:  Candidates discuss health care, budget: The first debate sees Case taking jabs at Djou and all agreeing that the deficit is among the top issues

(SB, backing the strategy of SB Editorial Board member Dan Case’s nephew Ed Case, focuses its attack on Djou.  Soon the SB editorial board will control the only news paper in town.)

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Democrats assign attack dog to tail Djou

Headline from DCCC news release: “Charles Djou Should Show Voters Respect, Stand Behind His Support for Social Security Privatization”

This means that the DCCC is afraid of losing HI-1.  It also means that Djou’s every statement will be picked over by the DCCC looking for issues to invent and exploit.

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95.5 The Fish - The Fishing Poll: If You Had To Pick Now, Who Would You Pick For Governor

  • Duke Aiona 65%
  • Mufi Hannemann 22%
  • Neil Abercrombie 12%

Total Votes: 2258

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Honolulu councilman Tam kept spending amid probe: Councilman faces censure vote at meeting tomorrow

City Councilman Rod Tam, who will face a censure vote tomorrow, continued to use his city allowance to pay for meals with constituents and retirement party gifts even when he knew he was being investigated for possible abuses by the city Ethics Commission….

Djou, who introduced the resolution calling for Tam to be censured, said council members get too much in contingency dollars. "I think our contingency budget is too big and should be cut, in order to cut down on the amount of abuses," he said.

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Only one company bid to manage Hawaii rail project

Under the five-year deal, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based InfraConsult LLC will provide project management oversight on the $5.3 billion project — a role the company has played since March 2007.

The latest contract is the third-largest deal to date on the transit project following a $483 million contract awarded to Kiewit Pacific in October and an $86 million contract awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff in August 2007….

It is possible that no other companies thought they could compete with InfraConsult, Yoshioka said. "I'm guessing that the other guys figured that these guys were so familiar with it that it would be hard for them to take the role," he said….

Perceptions of contract favoritism between the city, Parsons Brinckerhoff and InfraConsult were partially behind a probe of rail contracts conducted last year by the city auditor. That audit found that contracts awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff and InfraConsult complied with procurement laws.

The audit also said the city needs to improve the way it documents commuter rail contract awards to improve transparency and public confidence in the project.

(Missing from article, a list of campaign contributions.)

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State pursues taxes on Net tobacco sales  (While marijuana is being legalized, tobacco can now be a felony)

The state has recently stepped up its campaign to collect the tobacco tax of 13 cents per cigarette on all out-of-state sales.

Attorney General Mark Bennett says the state could be missing between $600,000 and $700,000 in uncollected tax money.

Hawaii has sent out more than 900 letters to Hawaii residents who bought cigarettes via the Internet but did not pay tax on them.

That 13 cents adds up: Bennett says it amounts to an extra $26 on a carton of cigarettes.

Not paying that tax is serious.

Anyone who purchases, uses, controls or possesses untaxed cigarettes must pay the tax. Having 3,000 untaxed cigarettes is a felony.  (Unless they are marijuana cigarettes, in which case the Legislature or County Council will honor you.) More than 1,000 cigarettes is a misdemeanor, Bennett says.

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Rainy Day Fund should be used for its original purposes (non-profits push back against HSTA)

In 1999, lawmakers affirmed Hawaii's obligation to the disadvantaged by creating the Emergency and Budget Reserve (Rainy Day) Fund. The law was established to maintain programs essential to public health, safety, welfare and education and "provide for counter-cyclical economic and employment programs in periods of economic downturn."

The Rainy Day law specifically prohibits tapping the fund for collective bargaining costs. The Legislature knew that the law's primary purpose would never be met if the fund were used to cover state employee compensation costs. It was clear then, and it is clear today, that funding labor contracts would quickly drain the fund. Today, however, some want to use that same Rainy Day fund — current balance approximately $60 million — to reduce furloughs. This is not appropriate and would decimate the fund because the state Department of Education faces a $100 million shortfall for the next academic year alone, the bulk of which is related to salaries and benefits. Raiding the fund to simply balance the budget would be a step backwards.

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For Sale: One slightly used newspaper, location Honolulu


Oahu Publications, Inc.(OPI) is selling the assets used in connection with the publication of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper, including the Star-Bulletin masthead and the URL,, and related land, buildings and production assets.

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Maui Mayor proposes fee increases

WAILUKU Mayor Charmaine Tavares presented her fiscal year 2011 budget Monday, and it includes increases in fees for water, wastewater, landfill tipping and auto registrations, as well as fare increases for the Maui Bus.

Riders would have to pay a dollar for routes that are currently free if the County Council agrees when it considers the budget.

Tavares also is proposing increases in some, but not all, classes of property tax

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Honolulu third on ‘green city’ index

Honolulu ranked 33rd for travel time, sixth for use of public transit, second in sprawl, 31st in LEED-certified projects, and 15th in green jobs per capita.

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Hawaii moves to beef up restaurant inspections: 82% of Isle eateries inspected last year had major violations  (latest excuse for tax increases)

A bill moving through the Legislature would allow the Health Department to use the fees it gets from restaurants to hire more inspectors and put food violation records online.

The legislation would also open the door to raising fees for restaurants in a bid to subsidize an inspection system — now paid for by taxpayers — that has weathered spending cuts for the last 20 years and has seen its cadre of state food safety inspectors on O'ahu shrink from 23 in 1988 to just nine today.

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Proposed bottom fish rules released: Fisherman says effort will hurt him, pose issues with enforcement

They don't even think before they make rules. They are going about it the wrong way," said Lahaina fisherman Brendan Au, who prefers a kapu system, the ancient Hawaiian way of law and regulation. "They close off areas where we cannot fish all year round, (although) it's too rough to fish in those areas (anyway)."

Au said that nature already regulates where and when bottom fisherman can catch fish. He said more rules, such as the proposed catch limits on seven popular species for subsistence fisherman, make it even tougher on them.

"Tell me someone's going to throw that anchor in 500 feet of water, catch their five fish and go home? Who is going to pay for the fuel?" said Au, a subsistence bottom fisherman.

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Kauai: Unemployment numbers rising

LIHU‘E — Unemployment on Kaua‘i rose in January to 9.1 percent, but February should be a “more accurate” prediction of where the island is as far as the jobless are concerned, said WorkWise Kaua‘i Branch Manager Bill Grier.

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Quality Journalism Demands Tough Questions - Even at Our Local University

HPU students demand uncensored student paper 

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What's in a name? Guam considers a return to its indigenous identity

HAGATNA, Guam >> A measure calling for the name of the U.S. territory of Guam to be changed to Guahan has drawn a variety of responses at a public hearing.

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